The Common Learning area in Killam library is supposed to be a “quiet study” area, and plenty of signs decorate the walls saying “QUIET”. Nevertheless, I frequently find the aura of scholarly calm is broken by a group of young men who talk loudly (and it sounds, very angrily) amongst themselves in their native language, which happens to be Arabic. Nobody tells them to shut up- either out of political correctness and the rabid fear of not being ‘multicultural”, or out of the fear that they will get angry, start demonstrating and call for the library closure.
In any case, my only sentiment on seeing this group of young men, usually overdressed in bright garish sweatshirts and what I understand is known as “gangsta rap” style, is one of intense irritation, and the wish that they would take themselves and their loud discussions somewhere else.
However, recently I had the pleasure of walking down a university hallway with a native Canadian girl, a tall girl of Scandinavian stock, with light blue Scandinavian eyes and a small Scandinavian nose, and I saw quite a different reaction to a bunch of young Arab men lounging by the hall.
My Canadian-Scandinavian friend flushed, rolled her eyes and cooed softly: “Oh my God. Just look at them. They are so handsome …so stylish…I just love Arab men. Canadian men are so boring, so blah.”
Actually, I preferred not to look at them, as I would have considered it a waste of eyesight. I did, however, give a very surprised look at my companion. Oblivious of my surprise, she continued: “The Hallway of Hottiness, that`s what Ì call this place. They are sooooo hot.”
Well. You learn something new every day. In English, they would say “opposites attract” or “it takes all sorts to make the world go round”. As usual, the Farsi expression has a particular graphic vividness: “The grass must taste sweet for this goat”.